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THATTA: Speakers at a seminar on education stressed that people should be encouraged to get their children enrolled in schools for early education instead of seminaries and government should provide all essential facilities at primary schools to the satisfaction of students’ parents.

The seminar on Thatta-Sujawal ji taleem – maazi aeen haal (Education in Thatta-Sujawal — past and present) was organised jointly by NGOs Alif Ailaan and Sindh Radiant Organisation at Makli Gymkhana on Saturday.

In his speech, Senator Karim Khuwaja underlined the importance of better facilities at primary schools than what was being offered by seminaries to convince people to prefer the state’s education system.

He called for evolving a consensus among Sindh’s population, particularly the illiterate lot living in rural areas, on the option.

He told the audience that paper work was being done and draft legislation prepared before some practical measures could be taken in this regard.

Mr Khuwaja said that until the 16th and 18th centuries, Thatta had more than 400 academic institutions which produced countless writers, poets, historians, intellectuals and philosophers.

They educated hundreds of children each, he added.

Rehmatullah Balal of Alif Ailaan citing a recent survey observed that 72 per cent of primary school students in Thatta could pass their examination in at least second division; 77 per cent could not even read English and 49 per cent could not read Urdu.

He made mention of Dr Ghulam Ali Allana, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Rajab Memon, and said a large number of statesmen, technocrats, scholars and bureaucrats who played their vital role in nation building belonged to Thatta and had their early education in this region.

However, he regretted, that not only Thatta but the entire province now registered a sharp decline in the standard of education while the literacy rate was also descending fast.

The senator agreed that state alone could not cope with the situation, and emphasised the need for joint efforts by all stakeholders, including students and their parents, to get the lost spirit and standards restored.

Asif Qureshi, Noor Serai and Rasheed Jakhro told the audience that 88 per cent of primary school students in Thatta were made to attend their classes without electricity, 82 per cent without water, 69 per cent without toilets and 55 per cent without boundary walls.

Dr Muhammed Ali Manjhi, the principal of the Govt Boys Degree College, Makli, that 93 per cent of girls students had to get education at places that lacked an infrastructures.

However, he expressed the optimism about a big improvement to be brought about despite a lack of interest on the part of parents as well as corruption in society.

He said appropriate measures to be taken by the state could achieve a turnaround.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2015

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